Skip to main content
In order to provide complete functionality, this web site needs your explicit consent to store browser cookies. If you don't allow cookies, you may not be able to use certain features of the web site including but not limited to: log in, buy products, see personalized content, switch between site cultures. It is recommended that you allow all cookies.


Equality at work: staying within the law

< Blogs

How to become an equal opportunities employer in 12 steps

Equal Opportunity Employer

 'How to become an equal opportunities employer'
by Jacqui McKee, Director of Advice and Compliance, Equality Commission NI

Being an equal opportunities employer is a journey, not a one-off event, and it needs continuous commitment and work if it is to succeed. Here are 12 steps to guide you on that journey – but much more help, tailored to your organisation’s needs, is available from our Advice and Compliance team. 

The 12 steps are:
  1. Declare that you are an equal opportunities employer and adopt employment policies, which show your commitment to that principle.
  2. Introduce an anti-harassment and bullying policy. Seek to promote a good and harmonious working environment.
  3. Recognise that people with disabilities may be disadvantaged by your policies, practices and procedures or by the physical features of your premises and commit to making reasonable adjustments to remove or minimise those disadvantages.
  4. Ensure that your recruitment and selection procedures are fair and are founded on the principle of objectively selecting the best person for the job.
  5. Ensure that employment policies, practices and procedures reflect your commitment to equality. For example, working patterns should allow flexibility for those who need it.
  6. Deal promptly and seriously with any complaints of discrimination and harassment or bullying that may arise.
  7. Lead by good example. Show that you take the commitments outlined in your equal opportunity policies seriously by ensuring that you, senior managers and all line managers apply them consistently.
  8. Seek the support of your workforce and their union representatives in your efforts to promote equal opportunities. This can make it easier to implement your policies in practice.
  9. Get your message across. Inform your managers and employees about how you expect them to behave and about the importance of complying with your employment policies.
  10. Provide training in equal opportunities that is appropriate to each employee’s role. Everyone needs to be familiar with the principles, your policies and procedures.
  11. Monitor how your policies are operating by collecting data about the profile of your workforce, job applicants and appointees in terms of their equality characteristics, eg disability, and review and analyse the data.
  12.  Take positive or affirmative action where appropriate, eg where your data reveals that certain groups are underrepresented in your workforce.

We’re happy to work with you to ensure that you are compliant with the law – visit or ring us on 028 9089 0888

Posted on 17 May 2017 by Jacqui McKee